A Guiding Principle for Crafting Experiences - Customer Relationship Management

I’ve spent a lot of time in this chapter talking about experiences that are affordable for the well-heeled, not the ordinary citizen.This luxe market is not the bulk of the population, but it does reflect something that is a bit counterintuitive a principle that I religiously follow when working with my clients and when buying stuff for myself too.Remember this if you only have room to remember one more thing on a crowded brain-matter day:

You don’t have to have luxury.You just have to feel luxurious.

This is something to always remember when it comes to Social CRM.Each of us has different ideas of what makes us feel really good.Make me feel good and I will love you.You have to figure me, the customer, out, what makes me stretch out and purr, and then figure out the best way to provide me with that within the context of your own plans and budgets.That doesn’t have to be a Vertu diamond cellphone or a Hermes handbag.It can be a very cool T-shirt or an opportunity to meet your CEO or attend a baseball game at your expense.It can even be a game on your website that I love or a 20 percent discount on all items for a week.All you need to do is make me feel luxurious.With or without Prada.

I’ll personally take two tickets to the next Yankees World Series, please.

Before I go to watch the Yankees in the Series, I want to introduce you to someone who has something to say about customer experiences and how to go about planning your thnking when it comes to evoking them.Welcome David Boulanger, senior analyst at Frost and Sullivan.

Mini-Conversation with David Boulanger
David’s been around the block, to say the least.He has been involved in developing the strategies and techniques and identifying the trends for C- and D-level audiences in customer management, sales and marketing automation, call center, CRM analytics, and CRM software-as-a-service.He’s spent time with a number of industry giants, getting his street cred at Dun & Bradstreet Software, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM Global Services, SAP America, AMR Research, and Tata Consultancy Services.His current focus is a deep understanding of end-user business processes and practices, the application of enterprise software to achieve customerrelated goals, and the trends and strategies of related software vendors.

Looking at Delighting the Customer Requires a New Mindset
There is a serious transformation underway in the way that many best-in-class businesses are looking at the customer experience not from the inside-out, but from the outside-in.This outside-in approach called Customer Experience Management by many carries a simple, straightforward goal:“right touch/right customer/first time/every time.&rdquo

These best-in-class companies are increasingly focusing on customer experience and the role that customer service plays in a company’s competitiveness as the direct link to greater customer intimacy, greater brand 80 loyalty, and faster brand growth.CEM benefits drop directly to the top and bottom lines:more revenue, more profit, more profitable brand expansion.These are all great goals.

Now for the tough news:successfully implementing a CEM program requires a change in mindset that starts at the executive level as not a point-in-time change but rather a continuous-improvement multiyear journey where people, process, organization, key performance indicators, and supporting technology have had to be aligned to provide this “right touch/right customer/first time/every time” experience.

Right Environment/Right Attitude
CEM requires that there be an executive champion ideally the CEO able to support making some tough choices.There needs to be a team of empowered D-level business unit executives who are trusted and respected and who won’t mind getting into the details and defending a position with their peers.

It requires patience on the part of these team leaders to see changes through to completion, yet they need to empower employees to make decisions faster.It requires cooperation across business units and across the organization where up until now problems have been shifted upstream and downstream.Business processes will have to be rethought and reassembled to ensure that a positive customer experience is paramount.

This rethinking of the business plays out in thousands of ways.For instance:

  • For the sales executive planning his monthly schedule, how often does he schedule customer visits?
  • For the contact center manager incenting agents, how will he or she be compensated based on number of calls closed in an hour, or based on satisfaction per call even if the call takes longer?
  • For the manufacturing vice president who can tune a factory for long runs of one product or for shorter runs of critical products, how should he plan?
  • And if he or she is producing consumer electronic components in August for Christmas for a major North American retailer, should excess production be scheduled in anticipation of increased November orders?

CEM also can’t be successful without the critical cooperation of respected company frontline employees.They need to be engaged and empowered to make decisions.

CEM is also not a one-time event;the empowered team needs to assemble a “continuous-improvement mindset” and a three-year plan.CEM takes patience and persistence to implement.

Lastly, best-in-class companies have identified a new role, chief experience officer, on a par with other C-levels to be a champion and executive sponsor for this effort.

Right Measures
Commonly agreed-to metrics and key performance indicators become an essential component of measuring customer experience and satisfaction.Best inclass customers have also settled on a small number of well-defined and commonly understood metrics to declare success;year-over-year retention rates, sales growth and loss, sales growth from existing and new customers, year-overyear brand loyalty metrics and “top five in the industry” metrics are commonly used.But each industry and each company within the industry will settle on a small number of critical indicators, and CEM will require constant measure against these.

Right Technology
CEM also requires an integrated platform consisting of multimode customer relationship management suites, analytics, unified communications and contact center, Web 2.0/Social CRM social media and collaborative, enterprise feedback, predictive analytics, and wireless capabilities to be effective in measuring, analyzing, and predicting a 360-degree view of the customer.

Best-in-class customers start with multimode CRM able to record transactions but have added additional collaborative technologies social media and collaborative technologies.These complement baseline CRM, analytics, contact center, enterprise feedback, and wireless capabilities.

These best-in-class customers have pegged the ROI from these specific technology investments to specific improvements in customer KPIs and metrics and to improvements or expansions in specific brand, campaign, or other sales or service activities.

Like the rest of the three-year CEM plan, best-in-class has adopted a phased approach for these technologies matching the overall plan.

CEM:successfully implemented, a great program, great results, lots of work.

Okay, we’ve spent a lot of pages talking about CRM, CEM, VRM, and, most importantly, what Social CRM is.Now we move on to one more social business category Enterprise 2.0 in next Chapter that has to go on behind the company scene.Let’s move.

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